How Man City, Andy Burnham and others have paid tribute to 'the architect of modern Manchester'

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Tributes continue to pour in for Sir Howard Bernstein after his death at the age of 71. 

The man credited as one of the architects of Manchester’s resurgence, the former city council chief executive of 20 years is being remembered by people from all walks of life. 

After joining the town hall in 1971 he would go on to be instrumental in leading the reconstruction of the city after the 1996 IRA bombing, bringing the Commonwealth Games to Manchester in 2002 and transforming the east of the city and overseeing major projects including the development of Spinningfields and the expansion of the Metrolink. 

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He served as honorary president of his beloved Manchester City and also at Lancashire Cricket. Sir Howard was knighted for his services to the city in 2003.  Born in Cheetham Hill in 1953, he is survived by wife Vanessa, two children and three step-children. 

Sir Howard Bernstein has been credited as one of the architects of modern ManchesterSir Howard Bernstein has been credited as one of the architects of modern Manchester
Sir Howard Bernstein has been credited as one of the architects of modern Manchester | Getty

A family statement read: “Sir Howard's legacy shaped Manchester as the city we know, and he will forever be a part of Manchester's history. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the city he passionately served.”

Here are some other tributes to a man who shaped the Manchester we know today. 

Mayor Andy Burnham 

"All of us here in Greater Manchester are deeply saddened by the loss of Sir Howard Bernstein. It is no exaggeration to say that, without his vision and leadership throughout four decades of public service, our city-region would not be the place that it is today. I am privileged to have known and worked with Sir Howard since I was first elected to Parliament in 2001. I had total admiration for his tenacity in representing his city and its residents, and always valued his counsel and friendship during that time.

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"Sir Howard was the architect of modern Manchester; the regeneration of the city centre throughout the 1990s owed much to his diligent leadership and ability to build partnerships with the private sector. The success of the Commonwealth Games in 2002 left a legacy that is still being felt today. He was someone who could get along with everyone and make strong connections at all levels. Working alongside Sir Richard Leese, he helped attract billions of pounds of investment while skilfully running one of the largest councils in the UK. Our city-region is a poorer place for his loss."

Council leader Bev Craig 

“Sir Howard served Manchester with remarkable distinction. He will be remembered as a driving force in the city’s turnaround from post-industrial decline to the growing, confident and forward-looking city we see today. 

“He had boundless energy, strategic vision and a passion for Manchester. In 46 years at the council, serving as chief executive between 1998 and 2017, he played an integral role in the regeneration and economic growth of the city, from the city centre’s resurgence after the 1996 IRA bomb and the 2002 Commonwealth Games and transformation of East Manchester to the creation and extension of Metrolink.  

“He was also integral in the establishment of strong working relationships between the 10 Greater Manchester councils, culminating in the establishment of Greater Manchester Combined Authority in 2011 and a series of historic devolution agreements which transferred power and resources away from Westminster and Whitehall to our region. 

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“He leaves an incredible legacy in the transformation of the city. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”

Manchester City 

'Sir Howard Bernstein Way' outside the Etihad Stadium 'Sir Howard Bernstein Way' outside the Etihad Stadium
'Sir Howard Bernstein Way' outside the Etihad Stadium | Wolves via Getty Images

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “Sir Howard Bernstein’s contribution and dedication to the city of Manchester throughout his life cannot be overstated. His vision and foresight to use sports-led regeneration to reinvigorate the city was unquestionably the catalyst which set Manchester on the path to becoming the successful city that it is today.

“His love for football and his passion for Manchester City in particular, was clear for all to see. The club has valued his guidance over many years, allowing it to support the continuation of his drive to revitalise East Manchester, and further develop the Etihad Campus.

“Upon his passing, the many people who have worked with Sir Howard and valued his friendship will reflect on his incredible life of public service. There can be no doubt that Manchester’s status as a leading post-industrial city is, in large part, attributable to Sir Howard.

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“His family, friends and all who knew him can rightly be proud of his remarkable achievements, and it is beholden on us to continue to build on that legacy.”

Lancashire Cricket 

Lancashire Cricket Chair, Andy Anson said: “I am devastated to hear of Sir Howard’s passing. He has been my mentor, friend and supporter for many years, and I will greatly miss his sage advice, insight and our frequent, fun exchanges. Our differing football allegiances were always a source of entertaining conversation, and I know he would enjoy the fact that he has left us with the blue side of Manchester out in front.

“He made an immeasurable contribution to Lancashire Cricket and his legacy is far-reaching. Many Lancashire supporters will not be aware of his unrelenting work behind the scenes, but he gave the club so much and never asked for anything in return.  This work includes major infrastructure projects for the club, and its wider community, the benefits of which will be felt for decades to come. The redevelopment of Emirates Old Trafford over the last 15 years would not have happened without him.

“Under Sir Howard’s leadership, the club has overcome considerable challenges and his incredible hard work and dedication during those periods has helped to guide us into a brighter and more sustainable future.

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“When English Cricket has recently had to address the significant issues around equality, diversity and inclusivity, Lancashire were already well positioned, because Sir Howard held these values close to his heart and had always ensured they were central to Lancashire Cricket’s decision-making.

“He was an inspiration to all those around him and had a huge impact on our great club. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by the many friends, colleagues and members he leaves behind at Emirates Old Trafford.

“The thoughts of everyone at Lancashire Cricket are with his family and friends at this extremely sad time.”

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